Better Off Out
BY Brandon Voss
April 21 2009 12:00 AM ET
Have you actively gone after gay roles?
I have actively sought after some gay roles that I haven't even
been able to get seen for because they've said, "It's not
that kind of gay; we want
gay, so we're only seeing straight guys." The industry thinks
that in order to make a gay character palatable, it has to be
gentrified. I love playing gay characters because gay
characters are safer with gay actors than they are with
straight actors. We can be more trusted to handle them. If
someone said to me, "You can play nothing but gay people the
rest of your life" -- after
Better Off Ted
completes its seven-year run, of course -- I would say,
"That's great. I'm happy to do that."
You memorably played gay in the 2005 indie
, in which your character participates in a scientific study
for a new drug that turns gay men straight.
They had started that project a year before with a straight
actor that they just loved, but a couple of weeks into the
project he actually said, "I think you need to reconsider me,
because I don't get this. This doesn't make sense to me."
They went back to the drawing board, and I just happened to
audition. They asked me if I understood the material, and I was
like, "Uh, do I understand a plain-looking middle-aged gay
guy? Yeah, I think I got it."
You played a new gay dad in
, which was canceled after only two episodes. Did that
experience influence your decision to raise a menagerie of pets
instead of children?
I had some moments on
where I was like, "This is great!" But then I'd be holding
a baby who would start to get upset, so they'd bring me its
sleeping, docile twin and switch it out, and I don't think
that's what parenthood is really like. I love kids, but I have
to be honest: I am that person at a dinner party who's a little
relieved when the kids go to bed. Michael and I have talked
about adopting an older child or a sibling set that's been
stuck in the system, but babies are not that interesting to me.
They don't really do much.
you portrayed an HIV-positive gay man, which seemed
gutsy for a series on the WB network geared to a young
I was so excited because I was coming on to this existing
series, and it was one of the nicest groups of actors I've ever
had the pleasure of working with. I continue to worship Lori
Loughlin as a goddess. What's weird is that I played this gay
character, and on my first episode I had this whole speech I
say to her character because I'm trying to get her to life her
life: "According to the best doctors of our time, I should be
dead right nowâ€¦ You wake up in a hospital with a priest giving
you last ritesâ€¦ And that's why I live the way that I liveâ€¦"
So Lori and I talked that day about how amazing it was that
they were putting an HIV-positive character on a WB show. I saw
some of the fan pages where people were either talking about
how great it was to see an HIV-positive character or
complaining, "Of course they introduce this flaming gay guy
and the first thing he says is that he has AIDS." So the show
folded right after I did some press for the California AIDS
Ride about playing this character. Then I ran into the
showrunner, who was like, "Oh, no, that speech wasn't about
HIV. We didn't want to get specific, but in our heads he had
survived a car accident." I told Lori that, and she said,
"Well, that seems a little naive." If you have a gay guy my
age talking about facing death, you're going to think it's
an HIV issue. But I played it like it was HIV, so I'm glad I
didn't know that. If they had thrown in a line about a car
accident, I would've absolutely fought it, and then I probably
wouldn't have gotten to do as many episodes as I did.
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